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09 August 2007, 16:25

Anti-virus company Kaspersky plans expansion through acquisitions

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Russian computer virus hunter Eugene Kaspersky is now running the eponymous company himself and is preparing for an IPO. The company's co-founder, who has to date filled the role of head of development, is taking over from his ex-wife Natalya Kaspersky as CEO. The company is aiming to float on the stock exchange within the "foreseeable future" and is considering acquisitions subsequent to the float. Board member Vitaly Bezrodnykh today (Tuesday) explained that they are primarily targeting Western companies, as they have technologies which Kaspersky does not yet possess.

Natalya Kaspersky is moving to the role of chairman of the former family business' newly created board of directors. The reorganisation of the company's management structure is apparently aimed at helping ready the company for the IPO. Eugene Kaspersky will continue to work on software development in his role as CEO. Bezrodnykh has told the press that the board of directors is still to decide the exact timing of the forthcoming IPO, where the shares will be traded and other details. The revenue from the IPO will be used to develop the business. "Over the last ten years our expansion has been financed purely from internal resources. Now it's time to open a new chapter." As a stock exchange quoted company, Kaspersky will also have a better hand when it comes to public tenders.

Bezrodnykh, who is also responsible for business development at the Moscow based company, does not foresee any political problems in the event of expansion into the West despite Russia's image as a stronghold of online criminality. Nevertheless, considering the tensions between Moscow and the West, there may be political resistance to the export of security technologies to a Russian company – although Kaspersky does enjoy an excellent reputation within the industry. Bezrodnykh rules out the possibility of the company relocating from Moscow to another country.

Eugene Kaspersky states that his objective is to become one of the top 3 producers of anti-virus software within three years. The company is currently one of the leading six companies, in the same weight division as competitors such as Sophos and F-Secure. The market leaders are Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro. (dpa)


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